The largest tern in the world. Note large red bill, tail with only a shallow fork, and black on the underside of outer primary feathers. Breeding adults have a fully black cap.
Note massive, bright-red bill, sometimes with black tip. Breeding adults have fully black cap, sometimes raised in a short crest.
Breeding adults and juvenile with Laughing Gulls
Note big, thick-based red bill, thick neck, and squared off or slightly crested head. Juveniles are camouflaged with grayish or brownish markings on the back.
Large tern with very large bill. Nonbreeding adults have a grayish crown and reduced black on the head.
Large tern with large reddish bill. Juveniles have brownish markings on the back and a brown-black crown that is often streaky on the forehead.
Large tern with massive, red, pointed bill. The large head can look smoothly rounded, squared off, or slightly crested. The outer primaries are dark, especially on the undersides.
Very large tern with broad wings and large, red bill. Undersides of outer primary feathers are dark. Nonbreeding adults and immatures have variable amounts of white on the forehead. Gaps in the wings usually are a sign that the bird is molting.
- Large, gull-like tern.
- Black cap.
- Body white.
- Bill large, thick, and brilliant red with dark tip.
Immature DescriptionJuvenile has blackish crown, black edging to back feathers.
- Both Sexes
- Length: 18.5-21.3 in (47-54 cm)
- Weight: 18.7-27.6 oz (530-782 g)
- Wingspan: 49.6-50.4 in (126-128 cm)
Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin
Don't miss a thing! Join our email list
The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation.